25 popular Christmas songs you’ve totally forgotten about

If you’re sick of the same old Christmas songs every holiday, these forgotten tunes may be worth adding to your playlist.

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Every year it seems, someone comes out with a list of the best Christmas songs of all time. But what about the songs that don’t make that list — the songs that have been forgotten over the years, and some for no good reason at all?

We’ve put together a list of 25 Christmas songs you may have never heard, and if you have, you’ve probably forgotten all about them. So, if you’re sick of the same old songs every holiday, these tunes may be worth adding to your playlist. 

Canned Heat
Skip Taylor Productions / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

1. “Christmas Blues” by Canned Heat

This classic blues tune was really popular when it was released back in 1968, peaking at No. 18 on the Billboard Christmas Singles chart. We’re not sure why it fell out of favor over the years, but suspect it may have something to do with the band’s later collaboration with The Chipmunks.

You can listen to “Christmas Blues” here.

Louis Armstrong
Library of Congress / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

2. “Christmas Night in Harlem” by Louis Armstrong

The classic big-band sounds and Armstrong’s signature vocals and trumpeting are just as fresh today as when he recorded it back in 1955.

Listen to “Christmas Night in Harlem.”

Bobby Pickett at Chiller Theatre horror conference
Leslie Gottlieb from Little Ferry, NJ

3. “Monster’s Holiday” by Bobby Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers

Fans of the novelty pop song “Monster Mash” may recall that Bobby Pickett also wrote this holiday song with a similar vibe. It charted in 1962 but never became a holiday classic.

Listen to “Monster’s Holiday” here.

Steven Curtis Chapman
Wikimedia Commons

4. “All I Really Want for Christmas” by Steven Curtis Chapman

Chances are if you don’t listen to Christian radio you’ve probably never heard Chapman’s song about an orphan’s plaintive plea for a family at Christmas. The song hit No. 2 on Billboard’s Christian songs chart back in 2006.

Watch Steven Curtis Chapman perform “All I Really Want for Christmas“.

Santa boots
LightFieldStudios / iStock

5. “Barefoot Santa Claus” by Sonny James

Santa had to give away his boots in this 1968 novelty Christmas song featuring a chorus of sing-shouting children. James, a member of The Southern Gentlemen, had a hit with the song, which peaked at No. 9 on Billboard’s Christmas Singles chart.

You can listen to “Barefoot Santa Claus” here.

Alabama performs at Bayfest in Mobile, Ala., 2014
Saginaw-hitchhiker / Wikimedia Commons

6. “Angels Among Us” by Alabama

This country and Southern rock band’s song wasn’t officially released as a single but it still managed to reach No. 51 on Billboard‘s Hot Country Singles & Tracks back in 1993 through lots of unsolicited holiday play.

Here’s Alabama’s official video for “Angels Among Us“.

Prince Rogers Nelson
DepositPhotos.com

7. “Another Lonely Christmas” by Prince

Prince and the Revolution released this song as the B-side of their 1984 single “I Would Die 4 U.” It peaked at No. 5 on Billboard’s Christmas Singles chart but never really made it into the canon of holiday music played in heavy rotation on radio stations.

Here’s a live recording from 1984 in which Prince says the band has never played the song before.

Santa Claus
Nastco / iStock

8. “Back Door Santa” by Clarence Carter

Fans of Run-D.M.C. may recognize some of the horn lines from this 1968 tune. They were sampled for the band’s mid-’80s holiday hit “Christmas in Hollis.” But if you need a little funk infusion for your holidays, you can’t miss when you spin Carter’s ditty about keeping the ladies happy.  

Listen to “Back Door Santa” here.

Kenny Chesney
DepositPhotos.com

9. “All I Want for Christmas is a Real Good Tan” by Kenny Chesney

Country music fans will surely have heard crooner Kenny Chesney’s ode to tropical holidays. The 2003 song peaked at No. 30 on Billboard’s Hot Country Singles & Tracks chart.

If you’ve never heard it, you can check it out here.

Bobby Vinton album cover
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

10. “The Bell That Couldn’t Jingle” by Bobby Vinton

Bobby Vinton wasn’t the only person to record this song written by Burt Bacharach and Larry Kusik, but he was the only person to chart with it, reaching No. 23 on the Billboard Christmas Singles chart back in 1964.

Listen to the song here.

Connie Francis
ABC Television / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

11. “Blue Winter” by Connie Francis

Connie Francis had a lot of catchy hit tunes with staying power, but this Christmas concoction is not among them. Sure, “Blue Winter” charted, peaking at No. 24 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart and at No. 7 on the Billboard Middle-Road Singles chart in  1964. But over the years it’s taken a backseat to other blue holiday songs, most notably Elvis’ “Blue Christmas,” which, has a very similar tune to the opening lines of “Blue Winter.”

Take a listen here.

Girls in Santa hats
evgenyatamanenko / iStock

12. “I Farted on Santa’s Lap” by The Little Stinkers

Sung entirely by children and filled with fart jokes, “I Farted on Santa’s Lap” is a classic for everyone’s internal 12-year-old boy.  While the song is a real gas, it took some time to catch on. The record company dealt it in 1998, but nobody smelled it until 2002, when it charted briefly on Billboard magazine’s Hot 100 Singles Sales.

You can give it a listen here.

Darlene Love
Montclair Film Festival

13. “All Alone on Christmas” by Darlene Love

Fans of holiday-related  movies “Love Actually” and “Home Alone 2: Lost in New York” may balk at this song being on this list, but when it comes to airplay, Darlene Love’s ditty hasn’t seen much spin since it peaked at No. 83 on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart back in 1993.

Watch Darlene Love’s official video for “All Alone on Christmas,” featuring songwriter Steven Van Zandt, Clarence Clemons and other members of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band.

Neil Diamond
Angela George / Wikimedia Commons

14. “Cherry Cherry Christmas” by Neil Diamond

An obvious nod to his hit song, “Cherry, Cherry” from four decades earlier, this 2009 holiday single is pretty Cheesy, Cheesy. Still, it had its fans, peaking at No. 4 on Billboard‘s Adult Contemporary chart. It was the first single released from Diamond’s third holiday album by the same name.

The McGuire Sisters
Reprise Records / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

15. “Christmas Alphabet” by the McGuire Sisters

Lovely harmonies couldn’t save this soothing Christmas tune from falling into virtual obscurity over the years. When it was released in 1954, it charted, but fell out of favor over the years as catchier tunes took over the airwaves.

Weird Al Yankovic
DepositPhotos.com

16. “Christmas at Ground Zero” by Weird Al Yankovic

Weird Al’s dark-but-catchy holiday tune was in constant rotation on MTV around the holidays back in the mid-1980s, but it’s since been lost in the depths of the novelty holiday song bin. 

Part of that is due to most people today thinking of the Sept. 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York when they hear the term “ground zero.” Yankovic is reported to have said “I can’t really play the song live anymore because too many people misunderstand the connotations of Ground Zero. It’s not a reference to 9/11, obviously. It was written in 1987 when ‘ground zero’ just meant the epicenter of a nuclear attack.”

If you yearn for the good old days of the cold-war era — with some nasal vocals thrown in for good measure — you’ll definitely want to slip this toe tapper into your holiday playlist this year.

Listen to “Christmas at Ground Zero.”

Commander Cody performing in Sonoma, Calif.
missvain / Wikimedia Commons

17. “Daddy’s Drinking Up Our Christmas” by Commander Cody

If you love yourself some good ol’ Texas Swing replete with steel guitar and lyrics about car wrecks, arrests, poverty and alcoholism, this is an absolute must listen. It may not be uplifting, but it’s got a beat you can two-step — or swill a tall boy — to.

You can listen to the song here.

The White Stripes
Fabio Venni / Wikimedia Commons

18. “Candy Cane Children” by The White Stripes

You wouldn’t necessarily expect an artist like Jack White to put out a Christmas tune, but he did. In fact, “Candy Cane Children” was part of a whole holiday-themed compilation called Surprise Package Volume 2. The title of the song is a reference to White Stripes fans who are called “Candy Cane Children.”

Give it a listen here.

Merry Twist-Mas album
Public Domain

19. “Merry Twist-Mas” by The Marcels

It’s understandable how this song, written to take advantage of the dance craze The Twist has fallen out of favor for holiday playlists. After all, The Twist hasn’t been seen en mass on American dance floors since the early 1960s.

The Marcels released this song in 1961 and, while it hasn’t really held up, if you like doo-wop, you may get a kick out of it.

You can listen to “Merry Twist-Mas” here

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Couple at Christmas
vladans / iStock

20. “Let’s Make Christmas Merry, Baby” by Amos Milburn and his Aladdin Chicken-Shackers

This classic blues song became a hit when it was released in 1949, charting on both Billboard magazine’s R&B Best Seller and Juke Box singles charts. 

Give it a listen here.

Eddie Fisher
Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

21. “I Want Eddie Fisher for Christmas” by Betty Johnson

Back in 1954, actor Eddie Fisher (the late actress Carrie Fisher’s father) was wildly popular. In fact, it was Johnson’s biggest hit. The song peaked at No. 22 on the Music Vendor chart that year, and was also covered by Spike Jones & His City Slickers, known for their spoof arrangements of popular songs.

Listen to Betty Johnson’s version here and Spike Jones’ version here (with Linda Strangis on vocals)

Joe Tex
Dial Reocrds / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

22. “I’ll Make Every Day Christmas (For My Woman)” by Joe Tex

In the mid-1960s, Southern soul singer Joe Tex was the biggest R&B act around. This Christmas song released in 1967 peaked at No. 15 on the Billboard Christmas charts.

Listen to the song here.

Harry Stewart
Capitol Records / Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons

23. “I Yust Go Nuts at Christmas” by Yogi Yorgesson with the Johnny Duffy Trio

Comedian Harry Stewart wrote and recorded this pieceas his character, Yogi Yorgesson, a Swedish American with a very heavy accent. Released in 1949, this novelty song peaked at No. 5 on Billboard’s “Best Seller” and “Most Played By Jockeys” chart.

Aretha Franklin album cover
Amazon Music

24. “Kissin’ By the Mistletoe” by Aretha Franklin

This song from the Queen of Soul was released in 1961, but didn’t hit the charts until 1963 when it appeared in the “Music Vendor” Christmas chart. Why this song isn’t on heavy rotation on Christmas playlists even today makes no sense. It’s a classic.

Listen to “Kissin’ By the Mistletoe” here

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Felix Gross "Love for Christmas" record
Public Domain

25. “Love for Christmas” by Felix Gross

Another classic blues song sadly lost in the shuffle of newer, lesser Christmas tunes. Featuring Tiny Webb on guitar and Joe Howard on tenor sax, “Love for Christmas” reached No. 9 on the Hot R&B Singles chart when it was released in 1949. 

Listen to “Love for Christmas” here.

Experiencing more music nostalgic? Check out our roundup of ‘offensive’ songs you won’t believe were banned from the radio.

This article was produced and syndicated by MediaFeed.org.


25 popular Christmas songs you've totally forgotten about

Constance Brinkley-Badgett

Constance Brinkley-Badgett is MediaFeed’s executive editor. She has more than 20 years of experience in digital, broadcast and print journalism, as well as several years of agency experience in content marketing. She has served as a digital producer at NBC Nightly News, Senior Producer at CNBC, Managing Editor at ICF Next, and as a tax reporter at Bloomberg BNA.

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